Our second day in Rotterdam started with a check-in with immigration, where I collected my second passport stamp of the journey (along with Iceland). It turns out that cruisers often avoid passport inspections, but every passport stamp is a treasure to me. Both Ireland and the U.K. will also require this step, so I should return home with 4 new countries officially documented.
The first shuttle bus I encountered happened to be going to an older, retired SS Rotterdam, which was put into service in 1959. We are sailing on the 6th Rotterdam, active since 1997. Nowadays, No. 5 is a floating hotel, restored to the colorful vinyl glory of the era of its launching, as the photos below attest.
The city of Rotterdam, which was almost totally destroyed by WWII bombing, features crazily innovative architecture. Cubes, domes, skyscrapers that look like a stack of children’s blocks, all askew. Shiny metallic greens, blues, and yellows contrast with utilitarian old brick warehouses. But nothing here dates from medieval times except for the Laurenskerk, where I sat for a while to pray and absorb the history of years of faithful worship there. Next port…Dublin!